Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Publisher: Grove Press
Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’sThe Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.
Wow!! I’ve finish this book weeks ago and I still don’t know how to review it. I honestly can’t remember the last time a book has affected me this profoundly. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes is one that I will remember for years to come and one that I just want to keep reading. The book sat at over 500 pages and yet when I turned the last page I wished it kept on going. I wished I could have stayed with Bravo Company longer. I was completely immersed into the story and just didn’t want to leave it.
Matterhorn follows the various soldiers, lieutenants, captains of Bravo Company, a marine company, during the Vietnam War. You can clearly tell that Marlantes drew from his own experience in the Vietnam War to write this book and I was reading it I couldn’t help wondering how much of this was fiction and how much of this book spoke the truth. Marlantes opened my eyes to what truly goes on during a war. This wasn’t the first time I read a war book. I’ve always had an interest in what our soldiers go through when they are sent oversea so I have read several war books. But this was the first one to truly affect me.
It took Marlantes 30 years to write this boom and it was worth every second he spent on it. This book is beyond words can express. It completely changed my life and the way I view our heroes. I always had high admiration for our heroes but this book made me speechless about what they have to go through in a distant and foreign land so far away from home and their friends and family.
Matterhorn is heart breakingly good. It pulls at your heart strings and you’ll need to read this book with a box of tissues, but it was worth it. By the end of the book I felt so attached to the members of Bravo Company. The way they bonded together during this difficult time. There’s nothing like the brotherhood they share as they fought together in a war that they didn’t completely understand and didn’t complete agree with, but they fought nevertheless because it was their duty. They book covered so much from the bonds formed, the racism during that time, the honor and pride they fought for. Just writing this review makes my heart ache for those men.
Honestly, I feel like Matterhorn is a book that everyone needs to read. This is the new book that I’m going to start pushing on people, the book that I’m going to start recommending to everyone I meet. It affected me so much that I feel like everyone needs to read this book and go through the experience. Karl Marlantes released another book, What It Is Like To Go To War, and I can’t wait to go pick up a copy of that book.